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Thursday, May 23, 2013

View - Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday Linking up with the ever lovely Lisa-Jo Baker.

Oh, tomorrow!  I’m already dreading it a little bit.  There’s the mad dash to finish up any laundry, clean up the kitchen, pack the bags, then the car… Then the fun begins.

We have what every good citizen of Northern Virginia adores ahead of us: driving on I-66.  It could be worse.  It doesn’t end in a 95!

After 6 and a half hours of lovely trudgery on 66 then I-81, we’ll pull into our driveway in the mountains.  It will be pitch dark and probably unseasonably cool.  We’ll fight to get the little guy in bed, then ourselves.

But when we wake –

When we first go outside-

There it is!  It’s not quite White Top Mountain, but it is Pond Mountain.  It’s our view of what I think is one of the most beautiful places on God’s green earth.  My Southern Appalachian Highlands.  My Blue Ridge.

I wish you could see it all.  I wish you could smell the honeysuckle and peonies.  I wish you could hear Laurel Creek that runs just across the road from our yard.  I wish you could ride or walk on the Virginia Creeper Trail with me.  I wish you could enjoy my view.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Intentional Shopping - Step 1

This past weekend I made my first truly intentional purchases.  I have a 4 ½ year old boy who absolutely refuses to stop growing.  I also live in a location that insists on having roughly 4 seasons a year.  Because of these two factors, my little guy is in need of new summer clothes.

In light of recent events and convictions I went on a quest for shirts.  It is possible to find fun t-shirts, shorts and other summer tops that I know have been manufactured under safe and decent wage conditions (e.g. made in the USA). But… hold on to your wallet!!!  I am NOT in the habit of paying $36 for a T-SHIRT – not for anybody’s body!

To say that a bit of a paradigm shift is needed would be an understatement.  To say that winning the lottery would be helpful might also be an understatement.

Erghhh... found this using a "made in USA" search, sadly, they are NOT.  May return!

I finally settled into Nordstrom’s website to check out my options.  Lo and behold there were even some items on sale.  I found two cute t-shirts that I ordered a little large for maximum wear.  They are both from Peek, which has an exclusive retail arrangement with Nordstrom, and sells from its website and a handful of its own stores.  Peek is an American company that manufactures at least part of its product in the United States.

I have a Nordstrom credit card that I got several years ago.  We pay off our bills every month, so this is something I use for the perks.  One perk is free shipping for online orders.  I have also installed the Pure Charity browser plug-in for shopping.  I was able to earn 4.5% for my giving fund at the same time.  This was $2.33 just for making a purchase that I felt better about anyway.  Now that will go directly to charity. You can read more about that and sign up for your own Pure Charity account here.  

I have other ways that I will be clothing my child this summer planned.  I’ll share those in time.  This is my start.  A baby step.  I have to start somewhere if I hope to make any difference at all.

What baby step can you make towards being a more intentional shopper?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Where I’m Wearing Now

Editorial note: Think post contains affiliate links.
I’d love to claim that witty title, but it is actually derived from the book Where Am I Wearing by Kelsey Timmerman.  I haven’t read this yet (hence the absence of an affiliate link there), but I plan to in the near future.  My queue is a little full right now.  You can check out his blog at

So where am I wearing?  Where has my wardrobe originated?

I must say that since reading A Year Without Made in China, I have made a concerted effort to avoid clothing made in China as much as possible.  I’ve not been entirely successful and there have been periods where I didn’t think to check at all.  Mainly this has been the case with the little guy’s shoes.  I buy them at Target since he has been riding his bike and destroying them.  I’m thinking he may be wearing more New Balance in the not too distant future, though.  New Balance is the only athletic shoe maker that manufactures many – not all - of its shoes in the US.

Lest you think me a protectionist (which I kind of am) my reasoning is wages and worker conditions for choosing made in the USA.  I realize that workers in other countries desperately need jobs.  I’ve said from the beginning there are no easy answers here.

That being said, until recently I thought that any country BUT China was a much better option.  Well, now that I know different I need to act different.  So no longer will I accept Bangladesh, Turkey, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Honduras, Guatemala, Saipan, Hong Kong, Japan, Mauritius or any other country as a default option for better than China.  I realize this is a sweeping generalization, and I will get into some specific exceptions at a later date.  Unfortunately, this is where the bulk of my clothing was cut & sewn.  I have recently purchased two shirts through Stitch Fix from American labels with American manufacturing.

Funny story: yesterday I was wearing a bright pink t-shirt that I have had for half of forever.  It is so old that it was actually made in the USA by Fruit of the Loom!  Go figure!  I may even have some old jeans and other t-shirts made here.  I tend to hold onto things until they fall apart.  I’m starting to think that’s a good thing now.

So what about you?  Do you ever check the labels of clothing purchases to see where they are made?  Has this ever crossed you mind?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Song – Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

I wasn't going to write tonight.  I'm usually in bed anyway, but here I am.  I wanted yesterday's post to sit up top a while longer, but you can read it here.
Right now I'm playing for five minutes and then linking with Lisa-Jo.  I'll definitely be reading the one that linked before - and so many others.  You should join us.
Here are my five minutes:


You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song is the first thing that comes to mind tonight.  I think I know where this sweet comes from.  It is rooted deeply in the sisterhood of a football-loving, chocolate-infused sisterhood. A fellowship of gals who laugh, and encourage and catch up with drooping eyelids and unsettled children.

We comfort, and are brave.  We jump and promise to catch each other with comments just because.  We seek each other out.

Our song is sung 140 characters at a time across time zones and with more hashtags and exclamation points than any normal conversation should have.  So I’ve been singing all night long and this song will continue for days as I click and remember the laugh I had tonight.  New notes are added weekly and the harmony grows!


I've loved this song since it came out and would love to live up to it's words.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why I Care About Unintended Consequences

Editorial note: this post contains affiliate links

Lately I’ve got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.  In particular is how this tool and my use of it have wide ranging implications.  These are not simple problems.  I am neither an economist nor a journalist, but I do spend money.  Chances are you do, too.

I want to pick right dealing with the high cost of unintended consequences, but feel I need to provide a little background information.  Bear with me here.  I’m going to keep it short, but give you a few other resources to check out on your own.  Kind of like bloggy homework.

The impetus for this comes from several factors:

*      my mom was a factory worker that lost her job in the early 90’s
*      reading A Year Without Made in China several years ago
*      reading Overdressed in the past few weeks
*      the factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh
*      my own first child sense of sacrifice and doing the right thing (not as completely noble as it sounds)

If you are unaware of the catastrophe, what with Angelina having a double mastectomy and the IRS playing politics, I’m including this video.  Elizabeth Cline is the author of the aforementioned Overdressed and is interviewed in this clip.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Some progress is being made, too late for over 1100.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For further reading, this was posted on a Deeper Story yesterday.

For now, all I want you to do is take this in, think about it.  Go further if you want, but I’m not going to push – yet.  J

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The High Cost of Unintended Consequences

If you are here often, you may or may not have noticed a little change.  I have altered my tag line up there on that shiny silver bar below my title.  I am beginning to get a deeper understanding of my passions and goal for this space.

The third component of that statement is consuming with intention.  I’m not here make you change in any way that isn’t of your own choosing. What I do want is to make you think about how, what and why you are consuming – anything and everything.  Then make an informed, INTENTIONAL, decision about your actions.

We do so many things mindlessly.  I know that I have polished off a whole bag of chips while watching television without doing the calculation of total number of servings x the calories per serving.  My actions were unintentional and there was a price to pay.  Some prices are much higher than others and don’t directly pull dollars out of my wallet.

Some prices are too high to pay.  When we put our lives or the lives of others at risk, the costs are intolerable.  If we don’t pay attention to our driving, when we cause our blood pressure or cholesterol to skyrocket, when we purchase items made in unsafe working conditions there are unintended consequences.  We are no less responsible for those consequences.

Ignorance is not bliss; ignorance can be deadly.

Let’s make a deal?

I’m going to share with you what I have been learning and all I want you to do is consider what I say.  You are free to support it, disagree with it, or give me even more information that I might not know.  All I ask is that you don’t ignore it.  Does that sound fair?

Let’s get started then, shall we?

What unintended costs have you found yourself paying recently?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You Don’t Need To Be Carrying That

Today was my last meeting for the Community Bible Study that I attended at my church.  Our final corporate meeting was a time of sharing.  I heard something today that I feel compelled to share.  I don’t know who needs to hear these words.  I only know I can’t keep them to myself.

A young lady came to the front to share the impact our study of the book of John has had on her this year. She began by telling of the freedom found in releasing the guilt of our sins because Jesus bore them for us on the cross.  That is weight that we no longer have to carry.  Amen!

Then she continued describing the struggle she had with other’s sins that had been directed at her.  This was shame and heaviness that she still carried every day.  Until… she then was reminded, Jesus bore those sins too.  She didn’t need to be carrying that weight around either.

Did you hear that? 

Jesus took on the sins of the ones who perpetrated that blackness into your life sweet sister.  You don’t need to carry that around with you.  Let him have it – all of it.  Its price has been paid!

I don’t know what you may have experienced, but there was such a renewed sense of freedom in my own mind at this thought.

Just as other’s words don’t reflect my worth, other’s sins are not my shame to carry.
I pray you find release in these words today friend.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed. 
I Peter 2:24 ESV

Monday, May 6, 2013

When I Start to Believe My Own Hype

Friday night I had the strangest thing happen.  I sat thinking over the events of the day and what I had gotten accomplished.  Writing about being BRAVE was still at the front of my mind.  My little act of bravery was turning in two documents that allow me to step up in a leadership role with the amazing Community Groups from (In)Courage.

To say that I feel unqualified, unprepared and overwhelmed would be an understatement.  This is a job that will only be completed as God works in His power through me.  Lisa-Jo’s God-Size Dream of building community is opening doors for others to walk into their dreams at the same time.  If I’m not careful, and start working out of my own strength, a dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.  Enter strangest thing happening!

As I sat thinking about the exposure that would come from this, I began thinking about the exposure that would come from this!  Are you catching my drift?  This little blog here that might be seen by 20 people on a busy day, might now be seen by more.  Then like a punch in the gut I literally felt as if words were being sucked out of my mind and nothing but a void left.  People, that wasn’t anything but pride doing its dirty work.

I say pride because I began to worry that I would need to change, to be better – more like someone else – to establish an image I thought I would need.  Trying to live up to our own misguided expectations will just kill any bit of motivation or creativity you might have had flowing.  I actually felt it happening – and it was scary.

So, I’ve had to have a little talk with myself.  Basically, the gist is to get over it.  Keep walking the same way, thinking the same way, but adding in the new with more diligence and intention.  This new role isn’t about promoting me, or my blog here.  It’s about connecting women in a way that they will grow in love, encouragement and faith.  Y’all, I’m all about that. So, I’m just gonna keep on being me and try to stay out of my own way.

That was a close one.  Please let me know if you see me starting to fall for my own hype.  I’d really appreciate it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Brave - Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday
On Fridays, we gather at Lisa-Jo’s place in reckless abandon with words and hearts and comment love for as many as we can visit.  Some are bleary-eyed from a late night gathering we call #FMFParty on twitter.  Some are scraping to find the 15 minutes it takes to write, find the perfect right photo and then post.  Whatever your situation today, I’m glad you are here and I offer you a cupcake as a reward.  Enjoy!!  It has ZERO calories or fat!

Here are my five minutes on: BRAVE     

Most days I don’t feel brave at all.  I don’t feel cowardly or fearful, just not brave.  I don’t feel I need to be brave.  I’m not doing anything courageous or out of my comfort zone.

Then there are moments in a few days when I feel like my stomach has joined the U.S. Gymnastics Team.  I wonder if my insides have been turned into a bounce house and decisions are in there having a grand old time.

I then tell myself, it’s not real bravery.  My life isn’t at stake.  I’m not in any real physical danger.  I don’t want to devalue real bravery, the kind where life and limb are put at risk.

Risk is at the heart of bravery.

If there is risk, then there is bravery.

While not wanting to devalue the bravery of others I am devaluing my own.

So I wall claim the bravery in myself when I put myself out there to lead or to sell or to write - or to protect and serve.

It’s all BRAVE

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Your Gift Giving Solution for Mother’s Day and Beyond

Mother’s Day creates a certain tension every year.  I waited for so many years to celebrate.  I endured so many years of hating the day.  A couple years we even skipped church because I just couldn’t stand to be there and see everyone else celebrated.  I know I’m not alone in that last one.

Now that I am a mom it is still pretty tense, but for other reasons.  This biggest reason that Mother’s Day is stressful is expectation.  I expect things to go a certain way, certain things to happen – or not – and they don’t.  Worse yet are the things that DO happen.

Can I get an “amen” from the ones who have gone out to eat with a picky or unruly toddler?  Fun, right?  Exactly why you wanted to be a mom, right? Not hardly!

Guys (assuming your wife is having you read this): the whole gift idea is pretty stressful too.  Flowers are pretty – until the vase gets broken, petals and pollen fall on the furniture, and you’re left with a mess.  Let’s not even go to the place where you are considering buying a new vacuum as a gift.

What I want is to be able to make sense of all my life, and if it makes the daily not be such a grind, then let’s have it.  If you want to buy maid service for a year, I say GO FOR IT.  If the budget isn’t quite that big, then I have another suggestion.

My suggestion is the UltimateHomemaking eBook Bundle (affiliate link) that is on sale just through 11:59pm EST, Saturday May 4th.  I have a list of everything included in the bundle here. This offer is no longer available.

97 books to build a complete library, additional free offers and ecourses – NONE OF WHICH REQUIRE DUSTING!


I already have several of these books in my collection (Tell Your Time, The No-Brainer Wardrobe, Frumps to Pumps, Truth in the Tinsel) but there are quite a few others that I’ve been meaning to buy.  Two that I am really excited to see included are Hula Hoop Girl by September McCarthy and Embracing Beauty by Trina Holden.  Seriously, this is just two.  I’ve written a ton lately, and I’m too tired to list them all.  J

So, here you go: the perfect solution for Mother’s Day.  You can even gift books from your library to others as long as you don’t keep the original (please read the fineprint).  Know someone having a baby, trying to change their eating habits, looking for general spiritual encouragement, a homeschooler?  What about a whole bundle as a wedding gift?  It’s all here.

The best part is that this bundle, valued at nearly $800, is only $29.97!!!  But there are only a few days remaining.  Get them now while you can. This offer is no longer available.

This post contains affiliate links and I make a commission from each sale.  Thanks.